Marketing Plan For A Beauty Salon: What To Do When Your Competition COPIES You…
We’ve often had Members ask what to do when a nearby salon sees the marketing churned out by one of ‘our’ salons – and attempts to copy it.
For most Members, this is rarely a big problem, mainly because the salon ‘swiping’ the ideas in our Member’s advertising hardly ever ‘gets it’, and invariably makes a botch-job of it…. gets half of it right, but leaves out crucial direct-response compenents and therefore the ‘copy-cat’ ad fails miserably.
When you’re successful, when your success is obvious, you will always get people attempting to copy you. And if a rival sees your salon packed with clients, the queue heading off down the street, they ARE going to wonder what you’re doing that they’re NOT doing, and a (very) few will attempt to second-guess you and some will get it half right.
I know this because as Worldwide Salon Marketing gets bigger, as our reach stretches further and further around the planet, there are more and more people trying to ‘knock us off’. In fact, there is one fly-by-night marketer in Canada – whose name I’m not generous enough to publicize here – who has carbon-copied not only our products and services down to exactly the same brand names, but plagiarised our entire lead generation and sales system as well. He’s got more front than Dolly Parton, effectively passing himself off as us.
This is a guy who was actually representing us for a short time. Enough time for him to obtain all our copyrighted and trademarked material, and for us to realize he was world-class at over-promising and under-delivering, lousy at supporting Members and hopeless at any kind of follow-through. In other words, he wanted the cream but wasn’t prepared to put in the backbone of support infastructure to give it substance.
Now, I’m not going to reveal here the steps we’re taking to counteract this threat. Safe to say, when you’re about to punch someone, you don’t flag it, you just punch. He’ll probably take some of our business from us in the short term. But in the medium term, we’ll win because we know that there are VERY few people in the world who are prepared to invest in all the stuff, the systems, to keep the wheels that nobody ever sees turning.
And sooner or later, the salon owners who sign up for his system (er, actually our system) will quickly figure out that you get what you pay for.
Had to laugh recently when one of our own Members faced this exact problem. A rival salon in the same shopping mall decided to compete via price war, offering $5 haircuts. Our Member soon put a stop to that, with a sign outside her shop that said it all.
“Most business owners think the purpose of getting a customer is to make a sale. But smart business owners know the purpose of making a sale is to get a customer.” Dan S. Kennedy, marketing guru, millionaire-maker, and one of my mentors for more than a decade.
In any business – and the salon business is no different – the way you think about your position in the market, and how you act on that thinking, is fundamental to your future success.
And the more carefully and deliberately you design your business so that prospects and customers are magnetically attracted to you with a pre-disposition to buy from you, rather than you chasing them, the more successful you’ll be.
My company is no different in that regard. I certainly didn’t dream up the concept. I just sought out the likes of Dan Kennedy and others, studied their teachings, and applied them – haphazardly at first, I’ll admit – to my business.
Many have looked at our success and tried to steal our intellectual property, emulate that success.
Among our Member salons – in more than 15 countries – there has been much curiosity about our business model. So here is how we apply the principles of ‘magnetic’ marketing to our business; why we do it as deliberate strategy…and perhaps the smarter ones among you will be able to study this and ask yourself “How can I apply this thinking to my salon or spa?”
From its earliest days as a spare-room start-up ten years ago, Worldwide Salon Marketing has hired not a single sales rep, made not a solitary telemarketing call, knocked on no salon or spa doors soliciting business, nor cold-called a single salon owner pitching our wares.
And yet the company has been profitable since day one, with a constant stream of salons & spas joining our various marketing, coaching and online programs.
Clearly, the product works. The fact we’ve been wholly or partially responsible for making more money for more salon & spa owners than any other company in the world is testament to that. But a successful business isn’t about product (or service).
It’s about the method by which we attract our customers. We do it by NOT approaching them.
How can this be? Conventional business ‘wisdom’ has it that sales is about wearing out shoe leather, hordes of sweaty salesmen tramping from door to door, armies of telemarketers slaving over banks of phones and computer screens to get appointments, all aimed at securing a meeting in which the prospect finally and wearily signs on the dotted line if only to ease the pain of having their brains beaten in for three hours.
But we’ve never done any of that hard-labour. By deliberate strategy, we have instead forced prospective members to seek us out, jump through hoops to get to us, and pass careful but largely-invisible testing to qualify for membership.
Why make it difficult for our customers to get to us? Primarily, because it increases our value. Pure scarcity marketing, which is what we teach all our Members.
But there is another mainly selfish reason. It’s about the quality of people we attract as Members. Most businesses will take anybody as a customer. And indeed, in the early days I did the same, and quickly learned the folly of such a strategy (or lack of strategy).
If you look at our main marketing document here, you’ll notice that there’s a LOT of information, videos, testimonials, explanation – detail, detail, detail.
The entire page is deliberate strategy to weed out those who will not apply themselves, who are not willing to study what it takes to be successful, who not only don’t want to learn how to fish, they want the fish handed to them on a plate, preferably filleted and fried, who are only interested in an instant-coffee solution to their problems, a magic bullet they can fire with no thought, application or self-imposed discipline and application.
It’s selfish on my part because I simply can’t be bothered dealing with people who won’t read, who must be dragged kicking and screaming to the trough, who – if they manage to slip through the net (and a few do) – will sit their copy of Simple Salon Marketingon their salon shelf and expect it to miraculously leap off and gang-tackle prospects as they walk by the shop, with no input or effort from themselves. Who argue with our coaches at every turn, insisting that ‘it’ (the system) doesn’t ‘work’, despite overwhelming proof that it does work for thousands of other salon owners all over the world.
Every salon or spa has ‘project’ clients, those requiring inordinate amounts of tact, diplomacy, cajoling and nurturing far out of proportion to their value to the business. (Definition of tact: making people feel at home when you really wish they were.)
So by deliberate strategy, we’ve structured our marketing and sales process to limit not only our availability, but to elevate the quality of those we choose to do business with.
Eg., when we interview prospective members after they’ve completed one of our surveys, either online or offline via our newsletters, we carefully question them on how much they have read and absorbed the (large amount of) information we’ve published about WSM’s programs, membership fees, rules of membership etc. If the answer is ‘nothing, I just filled in the form’, they are politely but firmly turned away, with instruction to go back and educate themselves, and then come back and talk to us.
No doubt this strict policy of being careful about who we let in has cost us dearly in terms of revenue. But I have no doubt it has also saved us much annoyance and wasted resources attempting to teach the unteachable, and diverted resources from those who have not come to us merely expecting a silver bullet, fired with no effort on their part.
Those of you who are ‘our kind’ of customers will already be studying this model and asking ‘how can I apply this thinking to my business?’
And those visitors to this site who are clearly NOT our kind of customer…well, your eyes would have glazed over before getting this far anyway, and clicked through to somewhere else where the promise of easy success with no effort shines brighter.
I’ve often been asked by salon owners if I could help them “find somebody who can do all my salon marketing for me.” Write all the advertising copy, arrange all the promotions, do all the blogging, social media, video production and editing, search engine optimization, website changes, reputation management and a hundred other highly-skilled tasks that go into a comprehensive marketing plan.
The bad news: there IS no such person on the planet with all the skills required. They just don’t exist. And if they did, they’d be so in-demand you couldn’t possibly afford to pay their salary. But there IS an option. It’s far cheaper than hiring a full-time marketing ‘guru’. And far, far more accomplished.
Meet Eric. He’s our new Salon Marketing Superhero. For established salons & spas who want ALL their marketing done for them – online and offline – Eric is the one who gets it done.
Hair Salon Marketing Tips: When your competition copies you…
Do you find it annoying when a competing salon sees how successful you are, and simply copies your advertising for themselves?
Yep, there it is, virtually a direct copy of the ad you ran only last week.
Well, get over it. Pay it no more attention. In fact, you should be celebrating it. Because what they’re seeing (and copying) is only the tip of the iceberg of your success.
What they cannot see, and therefore cannot copy, is all that bulk below the waterline – the systems that turn that great marketing into solid sales behind the counter.
I know this because it happens to us all the time.
Just this week, one of our operatives in England emailed me a link to the website of yet another salon marketing wannabe who’s seen how Worldwide Salon Marketing has grown from a spare-room start-up into a multi-million dollar business – and wants ‘in’ on the action.
Yet another one – if you search the web long enough you’ll find more and more of these sites popping up, purporting to offer salon owners ‘the’ answers to all things marketing.
Apart from a website, few have any more depth to them.
This new player – he’s by no means the first, and won’t be the last – has even gone so far as to blatantly copy our product names, e.g., he’s promoting his own ‘Inner Circle’ program, he’s offering his own ‘7-Step Mini Marketing Course’, and more carbon copies of the systems and marketing collateral we’ve developed over the last 5 years.
Our ‘spy’ was worried about our new ‘competition’. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. Because I know that 99% of all start-up business owners fail to do the things which create depth, structure and longevity for their business. In other words, they do no more than enough to skim the surface for short-term cash, and don’t invest in resources to create a long-term business.
The bigger we get (400 current member salons, growing by 30-40 per month) the more we invest in strengthening the foundations.
Here at head office, there are ten staff engaged in coaching members, providing member services, marketing, internet support, accounts and product development. In New Zealand and America, we have franchisees devoted to supporting our Members in those countries, and soon, similar operations in the UK.
Over the years we’ve invested millions on establishing systems for database management, offline and online marketing, seminar events, product packaging, product delivery, intellectual property development, member services, and office management.